Amid the epic Apple v. Samsung legal fight over mobile devices, it’s easy to overlook other cases where an argument could be made that Samsung looked to Apple’s design language perhaps too closely in order to make its gear more pleasing to the eye. Enter Samsung’s Chromebox Series 3, a $300 computer running Google’s Chrome OS.

The computer comes packaged in an enclosure which bears uncanny resemblance to Apple’s Mac mini, down to the exact 7.6-inch-square footprint, rounded corners and silver rim, which in Samsung’s case is made of painted plastic instead of aluminum. Of course, you’re free to argue I’m stretching it, but first take a look at the comparison images right after the break…

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt called Samsung’s computer “a dead ringer for Apple’s Mac mini”, pointing at Engadget’s Myriam Joire who alluded in her review that Apple’s legal team may take a closer look at Samsung’s machine:

Apple should be flattered. Either that, or it should be readying its army of lawyers. Samsung’s Chromebox looks very much like a Mac mini, with the exact same 7.6-inch-square footprint, rounded corners (using a smaller radius) and silver rim (made of painted plastic instead of aluminum).

It’s thinner (1.3 inches vs. 1.4 inches), lighter and eschews that unibody aluminum shell for a rather cheap looking matte black plastic top cover featuring prominent Samsung and Chrome logos.

For reference, this is Apple’s Mac mini which debuted in 2005.

Another side-by-side look at the two machine’s back ports (Mac mini is on the right).

Samsung unveiled that Chromebook Series 3 back in May of this year.

Granted, there are only that many ways to create a mini computer featuring a small footprint and rounded corners. Still, undoubtedly some will observe that the similarities once again are too obvious and striking to be dismissed as trolling, especially in light of the ongoing high-stake trial.

Would you say that Samsung ripped off the Mac mini or are you calling BS on this one?

  • jcub

    You had me until I saw the comparison between the back ports. Now I don’t know whether to call BS or not….

    • why the back port? even the front is also differ if you are that picky. Every copycat make “some” changes other wise they will be caught straightaway. It is pretty much copy of Mac mini, only difference is that it comes with Google’s Chrome (cheap) and made by samsung (cheap) lol

      • Hayden Bridges

        Just because an OS is cheap/free doesn’t make the UX cheap

      • Could agree, but Compared to MacOSX, feels and look cheap.

      • Hayden Bridges

        I wasn’t defending the way Chrome looks so much as any Linux system in general. Take elementary OS for example.

      • Wow. I cannot believe this comment got support from others. I’m seriously starting to question the intelligence of people who come to this site.

        “Every copycat makes “some” changes, otherwise they will be caught straight away. It is pretty much copy of Mac mini.”
        Now apply that brilliant logic to the Mac Pro, for example. Its just like every other desktop computer, but with “some” minor changes so “they don’t get caught straight away”. When Apple does it, everything is perfectly fine, but when ANYONE ELSE does it, they are just copycats. You people are fucking unbelievable.

  • Shame.. something that Samsung doesn’t have it.

    • SHAMESUNG ;D lol

      • Sadsung feets better.. I think 😛
        In so many brands, here’s Samsung again… WHAT A COINCIDENCE… 😀

      • lol

    • AforAppleAforAndoid

      Samsung should change their name to “Samesung” OR “Shamesung”

  • Definately copied apple!!

    • I wonder how much a device has to be different in order for it not to be “a copy”. Why don’t I ever, EVER hear arguments how the, for example, Samsung Series 9 is an MSI X-Slim X370 ripoff or vice-versa?

      • You’re right it is, but this is an iOS/Apple related blog so I doubt many readers and writers are aware of the MSI.

      • goofygreek

        Yea, wrong blog my friend. This is an apple loving, everything else bashing blog here.

      • Syed Ali

        Haha 😀

      • macboy74

        Kinda like on Androidcentral.

  • Folks who deny Samsung copying Apple are seriously delusional. Yea, one or two things being same might be a coincidence or the only way of doing something, but copying the whole frickin product is a clear giveaway of Samung’s excellent photocopiers

    • JaeM1llz

      You’re delusional if you think Apple was the first company to release a mini computer in the shape of a square.

      • were any square type computers before the neXT computer?…

        if that were the case….then maybe they were….neXT…then…G4 Cube,,,,then,….mac mini?….. 🙂

      • Ronald Weaver

        Good point! and who is the biggest share holder of next when that was designed?

      • NickChima

        Good point there…..

  • you must be completely stupid if you can’t tell the difference between both of them

    • Hey, tell that to the people who confused a Samsung tab for an iPad + show them of this product and Mac mini… We’ll see if they notice the difference except the price

    • max

      look at another stupid guy, who’s opinion nobody cares for. who give a fuck what you think? they copied them or they didn’t who cares and no ones even cares what you think. why don’t you go into your little corner and suck on something and leave the comments to the big boys…you little bug!!!

      • I’ve been on this blog since 2009/2010 and I’ve had more comments and more votes than you’ve ever had in your entire time here! You are really disrespectful and honestly, if you keep telling people such rude things and shit, you’re ought to get bad reputation and people won’t like you… This blog doesnt need negative impact, and I don’t need it either!
        Sincerely, Simche Apple Konstantinovic

  • Nicolas Cevallos

    omg how could this happen…

  • I’m sorry, but the “nettop” design has been basically the same since they first came out. Every single one of them is a round-cornered square.

    • JaeM1llz

      Exactly.

    • Ronald Weaver

      But you must admit other company’s at least put there own spin on it. Both Apple And Samsung are both huge awesome companys but u have to admit in this case its rather obvious they didn’t try to make it different.

      • To me it looks more like an Acer Revo than a Mac Mini.

      • Only the color. Design is definitely (once again) Apple

      • JaeM1llz

        The design of the Revo is identical to the Mac Mini(and again dozens of other mini computers) the only difference is that the Revo has 2 straight corners instead of all 4 rounded corners.

      • MSI Wind Box DC110 looks pretty much the same too. It’s hard to NOT make a mini-computer a square.

      • But MSI is other Apple wannabe. If you see, for example, the Win Top AE2070, they got that design from the old Apple Cinema Display (Late 90’s). But in the case of Wind box, they’ve made the stand that make it look different from the Mac Mini…and I’ve seen this already and looks very cheap and plastic.. so I think people notice the difference between Apple Mac Mini and that MSI… now Samsung, they even have documents to advice designers to follow Apple on every detail…thank God the court are releasing all the facts.

      • That document is called R&D, every single company compares their products to other companies products and how they stack up. If people can’t notice the difference between a Mac Mini and the Samsung Chromebox, there’s a problem with their eye sight. They all follow one shape: square. It’s like telling a USB drive maker that they can’t make theirs in a rectangular stick anymore. Yes, the Mac Mini was first, but it certainly wasn’t the first mini computer.

  • This just might be Apple V Samsung round 2..
    Small light weight computer can be made in other size/shapes but this is so …let’s copy the Mac mini

    • Imahottguy

      What shape makes sense? A circle? Star? Rhombus? Do you see any hexagon shaped NetTop computers out there? Of course not. A square just makes sense. Idk if Apple has a patent on a square computer, but that is just the logical shape for a small computer to be. Just because the Mac Mini is also square does not mean that someone is trying to rip off Apple.

      • The same size foot print !

      • Ronald Weaver

        Sphere sounds good lets go for that! 8 )

  • They copy Apple and it still isn’t any good…

    • I’d like to know if they have any devices of their own design. They copy the whole product line up. They can’t seem to come up with anything new, just a variation or exact copy of the Apple product line all but for the Samsung Note. I hoped when they came out with that they were finally going to develop their own original product line. The Windows Phone is an example of not copying and developing their own product.

      • Imahottguy

        The whole point of a ChromeOS box is for it to be small. There are plenty of other small computers that are a small square. News flash: Apple certainly was not the first company to ever make an electronic device. How about how laptop computers? Apple definitely copied the way those things turn on, display junk on the screen and allow the user to input via keyboard and trackpad. So what if Samsung borrowed some design and UI elements for their devices. Apple is only trying to stomp out any competition and stifle innovation at this point.

        I realize that I’m posting this on an apple-centric blog, but I will say this anyway. Do you guys honestly think that Samsung has corporate spies inside Apple because they just can’t make good products? Do you seriously believe that they take an Apple product and see what they can do to make one that looks as close as possible? Anyone who thinks a Samsung phone looks like an iPhone is uninformed. I love my Apple products, but this is ridiculous.

      • You know.. Apple pay royalties to use technology that they don’t own… like they did, when they’ve made their first computer… just because brands like Samsung doesn’t have any shame at all to copy and steal, doesn’t mean that other companies are equal.

        Remember the XEROX case? Everybody said that Apple stole the idea. But it was proven that Apple bought the idea… and to bought a idea, it’s because the seller agreed with that (they don’t even like it..that’s why its was only a unfinished project). It’s how the things work and SHOULD WORK.

        And probably if you have a idea, someday, you will do the same. The problem here, is that most of the people who defends copycats, are the one’s who probably copied their colleagues back on school…

      • Emre SÜMENGEN

        “what if Samsung borrowed some design and UI elements for their devices”

        Nothing wrong, as long as you PAY for the things that you “borrow”…

        If not, that makes YOU a THIEF… Clear and simple!

        I can’t understand people arguing “what’s wrong with copying a little”… It’s like “what’s wrong if that guy stole your iphone? it was just a phone, go pay and buy a new one!”

    • TriguyRN

      They were the first one to make a box shaped computer………….

  • You cannot even fathom how much respect I lost for both these corporations in the past few months, especially Samsung. But saying how this rips off the Mac mini is the same as saying Apple ripped off the modern notebook concept from [insert manufacturer here]. Yes, there are similarities, but there is only so much you can do with this kind of form factor.

    • Who came up with the iPhone design? Who came up with the iPad design? Who came up with the Mac Mini Design? Who came up with the iPod Touch design? How came up with the Macbook Air design? … now, lets see who came right on second…it’s always SAMSUNG. In so many f..king brands.. it’s always Samsung. Even a blind person don’t need more evidences to see that Samsung is copying Apple on everything… now even the Samsung Store is so close to the Apple’s one… come on.. let’s put our preferences aside (iOS, Android..etc…) and let’s see the facts here. Samsung is a shame.

      We need originality and innovation in our world. Not brands like Samsung. Lets praise Apple, HTC, Sony, and others that follow their own design and built their image without copying anyone. Samsung should stay were they belong.. manufacturing chips and LED’s only.

      • I’m kind of getting tired of this argument. Apple did not come up with ANY of those form factors you mention. They simply improved upon what was already available. There were already rectangle tablets with huge screens and black bezels around. They sure didn’t look nice, nor am I saying they did. I’m saying how the iPad simply improved upon those already existing concepts. The same can be said for all Apple products. Samsung and others are improving upon what Apple came up with. (Just a random example the popped into my head now… Take the position of the power/lock button on some Samsung devices, for example. Personally, I think it is more conveniently positioned for you to press and lock your device, especially on larger devices where you would have to reach all the way up to the top. Then you have notification lights, removable batteries and storage, implementing huge displays while maintaining great design and not making it feel like a brick (HTC One series), etc..)
        >That is how the industry works.US<. I really cannot understand why there are so many people here who are fighting so hard against progress and competition, and who are supporting Apple's ridiculous goals to block it.

      • You can have the same concept with different designs. Apple always had different designs, unique designs that define Apple.. and Samsung dont… they always ripped off other brands.

        All cars have 4 wheels, doors, lights..etc.. but that doesn’t mean that they are all equal…

      • And there you go repeating your pointless argument and completely ignoring my entire post… Classy.
        There is only so much you can do on a device that is ~4 inches in diameter, compared to a full vehicle. On a car, there is plenty of room to work with, to make your product stand out, truly different and unique. But, on a small phone… There has to be a speaker for phone calls, and the only convenient place for it is at the top. There has to be a button that takes you back to the homescreen, and we all know what the best place for that is.
        Yes, Samsung could’ve gone with a different Android skin, but that is not even close to being a good reason for such a lawsuit.
        I’ve said it a million times, how everyone was slowly starting to take the “black rectangle” hardware design route (LG Prada being a great example). Take a look at my DISQUS post history if you want, I don’t feel like repeating myself again.

      • Nokia Lumia is a rectangle… but it’s not even close to the iPhone…HTC One is rectangle with round corners.. and once again, it’s not even close to the iPhone. Saying that all “rectangles” must look like the iPhone is just laziness and lack of originality. Let’s cut the crap… Samsung just copy.

      • How come you didn’t mention the Droid Razr? It is a black rectangle, with a chrome ring around the device. So, why isn’t Apple going after Motorola to protect their wrok?
        I don’t approve the way Samsung skinned Android, but saying how a device is a complete ripoff only based on one hardware characteristic, while another device with the same characteristic isn’t a ripoff, is utterly asinine!

        P.S. Laziness and lack of originalty? Have you even seen the number of features on the GS3? I wouldn’t call that a lack of anything.

      • one hardware only?… lol. Ok then.. we must live on different planets than. I think you’re right… Apple is the one that copies Samsung.

        Btw… iOS is a Apple product… Android is a Google products…if you want to talk about “features” and OS.. lets bring bada then… the one that’s owned by Samsung… let’s talk about updates… let’s talk about how long Samsung support their costumers… let’s talk about the innovative GS3 feature called “S-Voice” … and his original purple logo too…

      • I’m staring to doubt your reading ability. Where have I said Apple copies Samsung? And I’ve said it at least twice now how (even though the GS3 has an astounding number of features) I do not approve Samsung’s way of skinning Android.
        Because there are good chances a non-Nexus device won’t receive updates, is the reason I’m writing this on an iPhone. 

      • Wrong again. Window’s Phone7 is and original design. Same rectangular form factor & full touch screen. It’s completely different from the other two companies we are chattin’ about. Samsung says these grid icons, and icon logos, etc. are just the way it has to be with these smartphones. WP7 shows you it is not inevitable and you can do it other ways.

      • Now I’m slowly starting to get pissed off. Didn’t you read what I said MULTIPLE fucking times? I do not approve the way Samsung skinned Android. They could have chosen a different style, but they didn’t. Now they’re in court and rightfully so. Not because I consider Apple’s patents to be a good thing (software patents are bullshit), but because that may teach them (Samsung) a few lessons. Hardware design is one thing, and software is another. Galaxy S is nothing but a, yet another, generic looking plastic smartphone vaguely resembling the iPhone with it’s chrome ring.
        When it comes to software, its a different story, and it is clear how Samsung was influenced by Apple’s design. I don’t see anything wrong with being influenced by other’s design, but there have to be limits, and in my opinion, Samsung crossed it.

        I’m not on anyone’s side in this argument (I expressed that in the first comment above.), which cannot be said for thousands of blind fanboys who come to this site to vent and show their ignorance (Int3nsive being one of them).

      • So, patents are only fair in hardware… so you think people don’t spend time on research to get the right software, the right UI? The right UX?

        Call me ignorant, as your wish, I don’t care. But face the facts, iPhone re-invented the phone, most because of the SOFTWARE! Even the multi-touch responsiveness is because of the software.. or don’t you remember the old times when Android came with the multi-touch devices, (capacitive too) and couldn’t make it fast and smooth, like Apple did with the iPhoneOS…

        The ignorants here are the one’s who can’t handle all the facts here. Jesus… Apple have tried to share patents with Samsung and the only think you fandroids talk about is “squares, rectangles and round corners”. I’ve gave you already many examples how it’s possible to build different phones, with round corners and rectangle without looking the fucking iPhone! Do you see Apple fighting against that companies? NO. So the stupid argument that Apple “patent everything, even shapes” is misleading and stupid. And yes. Software should have patents too. EVERY COMPANY TO USE SMS on THEIR PHONES, pay for that…and there are many, many other examples of software that they need to pay a fee to use it…

        Samsung are ripping off the whole Apple products. Phones, Tablets, Connectors, computers, laptops, software… it’s almost everything. They don’t have the right to do it, like Apple don’t have the right to copy others. That’s why when some company feel that Apple use their technology (Hardware or Software), they sue Apple too! And they should! Because they have that right to do it… (if they own it). Seriously… only limited people don’t see that.

      • The idea of a tablet computer is now new but there was nothing out there that looked and worked the same as the IPad before it came out. The IPhone reinvented the smartphone or cell phone, as did the IPod. I haven’t seen other devices like the Mac mini until now I’ll have to look that up but for once can’t Samsung come up with more products of their own design like the Samsung Note? That was a move in the right direction.

      • max

        who gives a flying fuck what you think!!! Don’t you have anything better to do and who cares who copied who? If you save up your hard earned money and you want to give it to apple to make them richer that’s your problem but, JEEEEEZ…STOP NAGGING US WITH YOUR PETTY SHIT!!! Dude swallow a chill pill or go puff on smthing b’4 you pop a nut. Let me guess you own a samsung tv? how much is apple paying you, mr crusader (inte3nsive)? Let the courts handle it…its their job.

    • max

      Well said…couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • I think they didn’t copy apple.

  • Alec Vanek

    It is clear that Samsung didn’t copy the Mac mini. Just because they are boxes doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. Does that mean every computer in a tower copied the Mac Pro?

    • Not sure if you went full retard or just trolling…

      • maaaaan, they can’t even make unique mobile charger, they copy apple’s, WTF man, make your own shit

  • Copy Man !!!

  • Hyundai is a car manufacturer that also rips off designs from other companies, but at least they have the decency to pull from various sources of “inspiration” – sometimes improving a little. The LEAST Samsung could have done is decrease the footprint or even the radio of the corners, right?

  • macboy74

    Ha too funny. This is just sad. And if anybody out there says that it’s a basic design like they have with the tablet and the phone youre a f ing moron.

  • I’m starting to think about that Samsung isn’t Korean, they are from China!

  • My god! This article and the fanboy posts prove beyond any doubt that there is no moron as mindless as an Apple fanboy.

  • JaeM1llz

    Oh wow, Samsung released a mini computer that looks like EVERY other mini computer in existence. Apple did not invent the square people. Mini computers have been manufactured in this shape and size for years. Get over it.

    • The concept of “mini computers” existed before Apple’s one… but name just ONE mini computer that was released before the Apple Mini and has the same design, the same look.. with the same size, same shape, exactly the same round corners… name it.. just one.

      Before Apple Mini, they all had the look of a VHS devices or cube design, like the Apple G4 Cube was… but if im wrong, just name it one.

      • JaeM1llz

        That’s because technology has evolved allowing for smaller parts and smaller form factors… it is a natural progression of technological advancement. The early mini PCs were cubes to fit the height of the processors/heatsinks and as the internal components got smaller, as did the case.

      • I understand that, but lets take the Nintendo Wii example. It is a square, like Apple Mini is, but doesn’t have the same exact design. Samsung, in other hand, follows exactly the same apple’s design, only with a few changes and (sometimes) different colors… and what make it worst? Is that they are doing this in almost every device… that’s why this whole case against samsung is a way to say: enough is enough. Seriously, even the AC adaptor is the same.. even the dock connector of Galaxy Pad is the same… they are going too far. It’s a shame specially because Samsung is a big company. We are not talking about chinese rip offs… we are talking about a BIG COMPANY doing this… it’s a shame, seriously.

      • max

        who gives a flying fuck what you thiink!!! Don’t you have anything better to do and who cares who copied who? If you save up your hard earned money and you want to give it to apple to make them richer that’s your problem and STOP NAGGING US WITH YOUR PETTY SHIT!!! Let the courts handle it…its their job.
        What happened to this blog? what happened to the good and objective apple news, the how to video’s and the good jailbreak videos? after all this is said and done both companies will go have coffee and a muffin near the court house and continue to make millions.

      • And why the fuck should I care what do you think? If you feel butthurt, GTFO. It’s simple mate. People talk, people share their opinions. The one’s that don’t care, just stay in the article and skip the comment session.

      • max

        who gives a flying fuck what you think!!! Don’t you have anything better
        to do and who cares who copied who? If you save up your hard earned
        money and you want to give it to apple to make them richer that’s your
        problem but, JEEEEEZ…STOP NAGGING US WITH YOUR PETTY SHIT!!! Dude
        swallow a chill pill or go puff on smthing b’4 you pop a nut. Let me
        guess you own a samsung tv? how much is apple paying you, mr crusader
        (inte3nsive)? Let the courts handle it…its their job

    • Imahottguy

      Thank you, seriously. It is so annoying to think that some people truly believe that Apple invented design, and shapes. I’d like to see someone who disagrees design a mini computer that looks nothing at all like the Mac Mini, but also is functional and logical.

  • Polysyllabic Pseudonym

    So basically Samsung is not allowed to use the following –

    1. Rectangles
    2. Rounded-Squares.
    3. Black/Silver color combination.
    4. Streamlined form factor.

    I love Apple products but I am not blinded to the dangerous precedent Apple is trying to set here.

    For the first time, I am finding Apple insecure and worried. This has nothing to do with lost sales. It has to do with Samsung’s credible long term challenge to Apple’s high-margin business model.

    Personally, I can’t wait for Apple to release iTV so Samsung can sue the sh!t out of them for rectangles, rounded edges, bevels and every non-intellectual design elements that keep getting patented these days under the guise of complex, R&D driven innovations!

    • Check how many iPads and iPhones Apple shipped and how many Galaxy’s (phones and tabs) Samsung shipped. And then, tell us, how Apple feel’s insecure…

      People like you probably never had a original idea.. so copying is the easy way to achieve an objective…because there are many morons that will bought it, no matter how…

      Apple, like other company that innovate, fight for his rights. Nobody in the world like to see his stuff copied. Even girls, get mad when their best friends get the same clothes… If some company, one day, copy Samsung’s OLED’s and other technology that they own, probably you will see if they will not sue them with all the power that they have…

    • It’s not about the actual shapes that matters, but rather about getting free pub off of Apple’s dominant products. Apple spends all of their time and money to build all these brands with their iOS devices, only to have these guys mimic Apple’s products to fool the public. It would be like using the Playboy bunny logo, but slightly change the rabit ears and eyes, and telling people, “It’s not a bunny rabbit, it’s a hamster face that just happens to have longer ears than normal.” Piggy-back the Playboy brand to confuse consumers and they get free advertising and pub.

  • Yes and a copy is a copy …
    Besides this logo with “S. ..” stuck on it we know that this has nothing to do with “A. ..”.

  • ‘Copying’ doesn’t necessary mean IP infringement. So don’t get all worked up about it. The article is simply making an observation that the two products look alike. Don’t jump the gun until you know all the facts. 1. Does Apple have a patent covering mac-mini’s overall design? 2. If so, the design needs to be ‘identical’ or ‘indistinguishable’ to be infringed. The logo, and the back ports are distinguishable enough to not cause product confusion. This article is meant to invoke reader’s response and it sure did a good job.

  • Haha wow, let’s see if the people who thought a Samsung Tab was “like” the iPad, to notice the difference here before they buy it 🙂

  • skychet

    If this looks like a a Mac Mini, then the Mac Pro ripped off its design from every PC computer from the 90’s.

  • ShameSung is banking on the likeliness of the Mac Mini to try and perk the interest of the consumers. They want us to look at it and think Mac Mini, but wait, it’s a little different. What is this? If they get enough uneducated potential buyers to think that way, then they’ve accomplished what they have done with their phones and tablets.